Friday, April 5, 2019

GLOG Parasite Challenge: Vine Servant

Normally I’d start with some vague, punchy blurb about DEATH and POWER but this class is not about death and power.

This class is about love, friendship, and caring. Also smells. Good smells.

You’ve found a special rose! It loves you so much that it’s growing with you and you can carry it forever and ever. It tells you about all the wonderful things there are to see and all the stupendous people there are to hug and share stories with!

Vadim Romanov

People will love you anywhere you go because you smell good! Share the smells with people to make them happy. This is a sad, sad world we live in, and people need to be cheered up! If you come across a violent person, you can touch them with your rose friend, and rose friend will drain all the anger out of them and put them to sleep.

Rose friend can also drain jealousy, envy, and all the other frets and worries people carry with them. Make friends! Help them calm down! Grab things with rose friend! Share good smells!

Other parasite submissions!
BioconBody KingCuckoo FolkEater of TonguesHydrargentKlyntarMother of OskMycorrhizanPARASITEParasite BrainSpellbugTemporal ParadoxUmbrant

This challenge brought to you by Micah of Nuclear Haruspex!
GLOG Class: Vine Servant

A: Blossoms, Happy, Parasite Die
B: Vine
C: Pigment Shift
D: Heartwood

You gain +1 HP for every Vine Servant template you have. Whenever an effect asks for your number of templates, use the number of Vine Servant templates you have.

Your Parasite Die controls the effectiveness and intensity of your powers. It starts as a d20. When you use your powers that tell you to roll your PD, roll it, and consult the Manifestation Table. Whenever you roll a 1 on your PD, it decreases by one dice size. (d20-d12-d8-d6-d4).
When your PD becomes a 1d4 and you roll a 1, your Parasite consumes your mortal shell and enters its final form in a glorious transformation. You die horribly.
Even if you never use your powers, you still must roll your PD once a week to see if it decreases in size.

Manifestation Table (roll the appropriate dice)

  1. Apotheosis. You choose the desired effect which doubles in intensity and take 1 damage. Your PD decreases by one step.
  2. Two effects. One that you want, another of the DM’s choice.
  3. Roll two effects on the appropriate feature table and pick one.
  4. Some other randomly rolled effect from another feature triggers.
  5. An effect of your choice. 
  6. The DM chooses what effect triggers.
  7. You choose the effect, but it’s inverted if possible (you don’t know it’ll be inverted).
  8. Roll on the appropriate feature table and apply the effect.
  9. You have -2 to your next Save.
  10. An effect of your choice triggers.
  11. Next time you take damage, you double it.
  12. An effect of your choice triggers but it’s half as powerful.
  13. Nothing.
  14. The effect is determined randomly and inverted if possible.
  15. Nothing.
  16. Nothing.
  17. You take 1 damage for every time you’ve rolled on this table today.
  18. Nothing.
  19. Nothing.
  20. Save or gain a plant based mutation of the DM’s choice.

You can sprout gorgeous Blossoms from your body and pick them. When you do so, roll your PD on the Manifestation Table and then consult the Blossom Table if necessary. The effects of any Blossom last for [template] minutes, after which they become a normal, if beautiful, rose. The range of all Blossom effects is equal to [template] x 5’, centered on the rose. You are immune to your own Blossoms, and you can only use each Blossom once a day.

Blossom Table (roll 1d6 if you must)

  1. Yellow Rose. Creatures must Save or be overcome with an overwhelming reproductive impulse.
  2. Red Rose. Creatures must Save or have their emotions amplified dramatically.
  3. White Rose. Creatures must Save or take damage equal to the half the damage they’ve inflicted in the last minute.
  4. Lavender Rose. Creatures must Save or have their movement and actions cut in half. 
  5. Pink Rose. Creatures must Save or forget the last minute.
  6. Black Rose. The first creature to fail its Save against this rose dies if its [HD] < [templates]. The black rose dissolves immediately after it kills a creature.

You’re a Happy person! You rationalize all the horrible things you do to others quite easily and have a [template] bonus to Saves against mental trauma or realizing what you’ve become. If you ever fail a Save of that nature, though, the effects are twice as bad.

Hoang Lap

Your rose sprouts a small Vine from a location of your choice. This vine has a length equal to [template] x 5’ and deals 1d4 damage if used as a weapon. If the vine is cut, you lose 1 HP for every 5 feet lost; the vine regrows 1’ a day. It can carry an object that weighs [template] pounds or less and support up to your weight. You can only use each Vine effect once a day.

Vine Table (Roll 1d4 if you must)

  1. Drain. A creature within the reach of your vine must Save or lose [template] HP. You gain the HP it lost. Any excess provides a bonus to your next Save equal to the excess HP gained.
  2. Transfer. You may lose up to a maximum of [template] x 2 HP to give that HP to a creature within the reach of your vine.*
  3. Shred. The next [template] attacks you make with the vine have their damage dice increased by one step.
  4. Extract. A creature within the reach of your vine must Save or you extract a fluid of your choice (poison, urine, etc) from it. You can store a bit of this substance inside yourself for [template] days, after which you suffer its effects unless you discharge it. You may discharge a stored fluid into another creature or a container. Unwilling creatures get a Save to avoid this.*

*if a creature is affected by this ability, it must Save or be infected by a Mictla Rose seedling. If it fails, its next template must be a Vine Servant.

Your rose can Pigment Shift your skin once per day. If you move slowly, the color of your exposed skin blends in perfectly with the background for [template] minutes.

Your tender flesh is partially replaced with Heartwood, and you reduce all bludgeoning/slashing damage by 3.

When the rose consumes and subverts your fleshy shell, you root to available dirt at the earliest opportunity and become a huge, carnivorous rosebush that seeks edible meat. Possibly your companions.

Sebastian Montecinos

Design Notes
: Holy hell is this class mechanically complicated for a GLOG class. I have absolutely no idea how balanced this is or how well it’d play at the table. I didn’t have time, but I think I’m going to retrofit this class into a more encompassing Parasite class later with that delicious decreasing dice mechanic.

The biggest hangup is the Parasite Dice. I've tried to balance it, but I simply have no idea how well it will work. I can estimate math (if you count nothing as a bad effect, 12/20 or 60% of the time a d20 will crap out on you); I still have no idea how long an infested PC will last. Assuming that a dice rolls perfectly randomly, a 1 on the d20 should crop up after 20 rolls? And then 12 rolls for a d12, 8 rolls for a d8, 6 rolls for a d6, and 4 rolls for a d4. So this class has around 40 rolls in it? 40 uses of your powers, count them carefully.

I considered condensing the Parasite Dice with a Blossoms/Vine table but I decided that if I want the PD model to be adaptable to different parasites I should leave them separate.

Speaking of the Blossoms/Vine tables, I'm worried about their usability. The first two dice steps (d20 and d12) grant the uncertain use of features, but d8 and under becomes increasingly reliable and predictable. Does this power scale well? Are the features strong enough to be useful but still potentially dangerous enough if triggered wrongly to prompt second thoughts about spamming them? These are questions I think only playtesting can answer.

By the time a Vine Servant's powers become super useful, using them too much can lead quickly to death. I think that tension will go a long way towards counterbalancing the pull of strengthened abilities but then some players just run characters into the ground. Forming an attachment to a PC with this infection is risky anyway. More than anyone else, Vine Servants are going to die. It's just a matter of time.

I think this class has some great tools but I'm worried about it outshining other classes at lower levels. If a player gets "lucky" and decreases their PD on the first couple rolls, then they can enjoy higher levels of power while the rest of the party has a limited repertoire.

I really like this class concept: a time bomb. Kind of like the Biocon. Like my favorite GLOG classes, you can access great power relatively easily, but using it will surely damn you. Your expiration date is just more sure than most.

Monday, April 1, 2019

GLOG Class: Really Bad Rabbit and G+ Eulogy/Break

Her companion lay asprawl on the grimed stone, limbs slack and head twitching as in sleep. As she approached, a small, writhing bundle of fur peeped out from the other side of his head, shaking and twisting with the rhythm of his neck.

No, his neck twisted with the furry thing.

No sooner had this correction flittered across her mind than a dainty white ear flopped out, and rotated towards her. She stopped, acutely aware of her chinking mail and her pattering heart. Another ear joined the first, and the bustling movement stopped.

A small face red as roses and slick as oil rose above her companion’s neck, with crimson beads languidly sliding down blood-thickened whiskers. Its teeth were drenched, but not enough to conceal the sickly yellow of their enamel or their absurd fanged enormity.

The eyes, though, yes, the eyes were the worst, she thought. No sclera, iris, or nictitating membrane, just an abyss of shifting, fluid red. And the pupils! Dull, white, sightless things, drooping carelessly to either side.

While its hindquarters tensed and its belly sank, she thought of a stray cat right before pouncing on a bird. How the cat’s eyes fixed steadily on its prey, mesmerizing it. How the bird shrieked before the cat casually slapped its head against the gutter stone!

The eyes, though, the eyes were certainly nothing like a cats. And the teeth sinking into her throat couldn’t have come from any feline either.

Oh yeah, April Fools. Here's my "funny" thing. Heheheheheh.

GLOG Class: Really Bad Rabbit

A: Just a (Killer) Rabbit, Hop, Carnivore
B: Arterial Spray, Bunny Nose
C: Dodge, Swirly Eyes
D: The Great Escape, Kits!

For every Really Bad Rabbit template you have, your bite increases by one dice size. Start with a d4.

You are Just a Rabbit. You are an exceptionally intelligent rabbit, able to count coins, find traps, and remember conversations, but you are still a rabbit. Algebra and writing are out of the question. Most creatures will underestimate you if they can’t see your crimson eyes or your huge goddamned fangs.
You can communicate with your fellow PC’s with body language and bunny squeaks and you understand the lingua franca of the setting. You also speak Lapin, the language of rabbits and hares. The only rabbits/hares you really get along with besides other killer rabbits are dire haremoths and jackalopes. Normal rabbits and hares will flee unless you really, truly pinky swear like you’re bestest friends promise not to eat them. (Eat them, and their children, and their parents, and their friends. Spatter them with the blood of their family! Coat their warren in blood!)
Your eyes are pure red with dull white pupils after you taste blood and your teeth are fangs. This is a significant tell that you’re not a regular rabbit. Also, you can detect killer rabbit lineage by scent, and may rarely encounter cousins.
Because you are a killer rabbit and therefore dangerous, you are illegal to own or transport (live) in civilized places. Your fur is worth 10 times as much as a regular rabbit fur. You may be hunted for your fur alone or to become an exotic pet of a foppish, spoilt noble.

Maks Copylove

Hop along like a demented pogo stick. Whatever a rabbit movement normally is, yours is twice as much and your leaps are thrice as long. You can leap backwards too.

You’re a Carnivore. Your best food is fresh, bloody meat. Cooked meat will do, but bloody meat is best. Vegetables and fruits do nothing for you, and carrots are poison. For every day you go without meat, you lose some movement and a hit point. If your stats ever reach those of a normal rabbit, you must Save every hour or kill the first meaty thing you see. When you drink blood, your eyes turn crimson and stay crimson until you’re hungry again.

Arterial Spray spurts from the necks of your victims. For every creature you kill in battle, you gain +2 HP and + move. This HP and move can exceed your normal maximum but goes away as soon as the blood on you dries or disappears. If a creature watching this has never seen a rabbit tear through necks and limbs like a demonic wood chipper or something equally traumatizing it must Save versus Fear.

Your Bunny Nose is adorable - when you want it to be. You can attempt to charm a creature that might like cute animals by spending a minute being petted and cooed at. This attempt fails automatically if your teeth are seen or if you have blood on you. If you attack a creature that is charmed by you, they must Save versus Charm or you crit them. The charm lasts 1 hour per RBR template you possess.

Dodging is second nature to you. Every round you don’t attack a creature that attacks you, you get +2 to AC/Defense rolls against its attacks and +1 to damage against that creature as you learn its attack pattern.

Your Swirly Eyes are mesmerizing. Once per day, you can force a creature making eye contact with you to Save or be paralyzed until they take damage, succeed on the Save, or somebody slaps them.

You have been summoned by the Council of Caerbannog to rescue another killer rabbit from the horrible state of pethood with a Great Escape. You have a week before the killer rabbit is defanged. If you fail, killer rabbits will shun you until you successfully rescue another. When you succeed, you may summon 1d4 killer rabbits once a year to aid you with a task.

Eventually, Nature digs her claws into you and commands you to have Kits! You must immediately seek out another rabbit and procreate once a month. Gestation for killer rabbits is one month.
If your mate is a regular rabbit, you have a 10% chance of bringing one killer rabbit into the world instead of regular kits. It ate all its siblings in the womb and starts with an extra hit point. (Female killer rabbits: eat your normal male mates after the act!)
If your mate is a killer rabbit or a jackalope, you instead bring 1d4 killer rabbits into the world. God help us all. Roll on the following tables for each killer kit you spawn.
If you have Kits and then die afterwards, you may immediately start play again as one of your children with your first RBR template.

Run away! RUN AWAY!

Kit Color: (1d50 or 1d100/2)

  1. Agouti: Bands of color occur on each hair in rabbits with aguit fur. The colors of these bands vary depending on the type of agouti coloration.​ Roll again twice, ignoring this result.
  2. Black: Dark black.
  3. Black otter: This pattern includes a black body with a lighter underside, hair may be orange tinted at the border of the black and lighter color.
  4. Blue: Medium or slate blue.
  5. Blue otter: Blue coat with fawn tipped guard hairs and fawn areas.
  6. Blue steel: Blue with silver or tan "ticking."
  7. Blue tortoiseshell: Blue and beige.
  8. Broken: This pattern can include rabbits that have white fur with any color patches or spots, with nose markings, colored ears, and/or eye circles.
  9. Brown-gray agouti: The individual hairs of this color of rabbit are blue at the base (closest to the skin) then medium tan, charcoal, and finally tan at the tip.
  10. Californian: White body with black on nose, ears, tail, and feet.
  11. Castor: This is a pattern that has brown fur over top, a slate blue undercoat, with orange or red in between.
  12. Chinchilla: Slate or black blended with pearl and black tipped guard hairs.
  13. Cinnamon: Rust or reddish-brown color.
  14. Chocolate: Deep dark brown color.
  15. Chocolate agouti: Bands of tan and chocolate with a chestnut tip.
  16. Chocolate chinchilla: Chocolate and pearl with chocolate tipped guard hairs.
  17. Chocolate steel: Chocolate with tan or silver ticking.
  18. Chocolate tortoiseshell: Creamy chocolate with fawn.
  19. Copper agouti: Bands of red/orange and dark slate with red at the tip of the hair ticked with black tipped guard hairs.
  20. Cream: Pinkish beige to almond color.
  21. Crimson: Blood red with white patterns on chest and face.
  22. Fawn: Straw color.
  23. Frosted pearl: Pearl with black, blue, chocolate or lilac shading.
  24. Gray: Three different colors of hair: black, black with tan tip, and black with a tan band, and slate undercolor.
  25. Light gray: Agouti with slate blue at the base of the hair, off-white in the middle, and light gray at the tip with black tipped guard hairs.
  26. Lilac: Pinkish pale gray.
  27. Lilac chinchilla: Lilac and pearl ticked with lilac tipped guard hairs.
  28. Lilac steel: Lilac with tan or silver ticking.
  29. Lilac tortoiseshell: Lilac and beige.
  30. Opal agouti: Slate blue at the base of hair then gold then a blue tip.
  31. Orange: Light to bright orange color.
  32. Pearl: Light creamy gray color.
  33. Pointed white: White with a black, blue, chocolate or lilac colored nose, ears, feet, and tail (like a classic Himalayan cat coloring).
  34. Red: Rich brown red color.
  35. Sable: Dark grayish brown color.
  36. Sable marten: Siamese sable coloring with silver-tipped guard hairs.
  37. Sable point: Cream body and sable on the nose, ears, feet and tail.
  38. Sandy: Reddish tan color.
  39. Seal: Dark (almost black) sable color.
  40. Self-group: Solid color in black, blue, lilac, blue-eyed white, and ruby-eyed white.
  41. Shaded group: Color transitions from dark to light (e.g. frosted pearl, sable, sable point, siamese sable, seal, tortoise).
  42. Silver or silver fox: Silver with white or white tipped hairs.
  43. Silver Marten: Black, blue, chocolate or lilac color with silver-white markings and silver-tipped guard hairs.
  44. Tan Pattern: Marks (not necessarily tan) on the nostrils, eye circles, jowls, inside ears, belly, inside leg, and underside of tail. Groups included marten and otter colorations.
  45. Ticking: Solid or tipped guard hairs different than the main coat color interspersed throughout the coat.
  46. Tortoise: Orange with black, blue, chocolate or lilac.
  47. Tortoiseshell: Orange or dark fawn and black.
  48. Town Watch: Grey with tan head and brown paws.
  49. Tri-colored: White with either black and orange, lavender blue and fawn, chocolate and orange, or gray and fawn colors.
  50. Violet: Deep mottled bluish-purple.

(I made up three of these colors. Guess which ones they are without searching.)

Kit Changes: (1d10) These changes are only hereditary if you breed with another killer rabbit with the same change.

  1. 1. Scrawny. -2 HP, +3 Move.
  2. 2. Plate Teeth. Can crush/shred an armor piece on max damage roll.
  3. 3. Claws. Gain small retractable claws that deal 1d4 damage and can help cling to objects like a cat.
  4. 4. Beefy. +2 HP, -1 AC.
  5. 5. Keen Ears. Better at hearing but Save versus loud noises (gunfire, etc) or take 1 nonlethal damage.
  6. 6. Keen Nose. Can track by scent but must Save versus hideous smells or be unable to smell for a day.
  7. 7. Smart. Can understand another language, read, and do simple math.
  8. 8. Pouch. Like a kangaroo. You can carry a few coins or a very small object.
  9. 9. Bunnicula. You can drain blood from a sleeping creature without waking it up to sustain yourself. This deals 1 damage and gives the creature -1 to Saves for the next day.
  10. 10. Roll twice on a Mutation table and pick one of your choice. Roll 4 times and choose two if you’ve eaten the brain of a magical creature. These mutations have a 50% chance of cropping up in descendants.

Design Notes:
Well, I wanted to do something goofy for April Fools and something to wrap up G+. Originally I planned on releasing my druid to mark the end of an era but work and procrastination prevented that.
I think the real strength of this class is in the descendants. After a couple generations of breeding and “bunny retirement”, a killer grandrabbit would be quite entertaining to play. Hell, roll on the table before you start if you like. I’m not too worried about killer rabbits overunning my campaign world because they are pruned/hunted for fur quite vigorously. Usually killer rabbits are lone, territorial creatures, but if you kill enough they will hunt you down in a pack of rustling, lithe, adorable fur and fangs. Your skull will be picked over and dragged back to the Council of Caerbannog’s Dread Warren.
This class has perhaps more “+1 to X” bonuses than I originally intended, but I tried to make those dynamic rather than passive. I find flat bonuses boring.  I'm trying to create a tension between Dodge and Arterial Spray so that each is advantageous at different times without having to resort to dice mechanics.
 My favorite part of this class is the hypnotizing bunny eyes and the charm. It just warms my rotted, stony heart thinking about charming the tyrant’s child and then ripping their throat out in front of their parents. Also gives the class RP/ambush tools so the killer rabbit can be a good infiltrator/spy. Basically, seduce children and then listen in to their parents. Have a kid snack, leave droppings everywhere, and report back to the party.
Why would a killer rabbit even adventure with the party? Well, the Really Good Dog is there as a companion. Why not a killer rabbit? Killer rabbits can form friendships with other PC's just like other animals can.

Future Thoughts
I'm going to be taking a month-long break from blogging. Finals and whatnot. Expect a slapdash parasite and then radio silence until the first week of May.

If you were never part of G+ you can skip this next part cause there's no game material.

Things Fall Apart...
To accompany this.

...which is the title of an excellent book by Chinua Achebe and the eventual fate of almost every TTRPG. How many campaigns get a bang instead of a whimper?

DISCLAIMER: ALL THE FOLLOWING IS FROM MY PERSPECTIVE WHICH IS GUARANTEED TO BE NOT QUITE RIGHT. I ONLY OFFER OPINION HERE. Also apologies if any of this is triggering. I'm recounting my own little story here and if you don't like thinking about past events on G+ please don't read this.

When I first started lurking (and started this blog), G+ was on a pretty steady roll. Zak S (rot his soul) was handily coordinating most of the OSR sphere and launching semiregular attacks on other people (most D&D and some conservative) he didn't like. Arnold K's posts were slowly but surely in decline. Patrick Stuart was releasing Maze of the Blue Medusa with Zak S to much acclaim and working on Veins of the Earth.

Arnold, Patrick, and Zak were how I measured the pulse of the OSR world, which was slowing on some fronts. Blogs were becoming slightly less active, some went dark. I shouted a few piddly things into the abyss. It seemed a stable place, if a slightly tense one. I didn't like the way Zak talked about people from the start.

2017 was a hell of a year. Throne of Salt and Coins and Scrolls began to rip their way through the blogosphere. I wrote what I consider my best post so far. It's about how druids will fuck you up from a distance. 

Then, something started to give. Zak and Paolo G had an argument which Zak refused to lose. Patrick got tired of moderating the personality clashes. Patrick severed his relationship with Zak. I wrote Patrick on G+ and it was whoooo boy. Wow. I was an awkward kid. 

In between the game posts, it seemed that something was building up...or not. Skerples and Patrick had a falling out of their own. Then, things settled down. I became busy with school and checked G+ once a month after one-offing a couple of wizards and not blogging.

Then things changed. Google announced the shutdown of G+ and moved the shutdown date up later. Gradually, as 2018 faded into 2019, people became aware that things were shutting down, the great circuits going quiet. Every time Google posted some info about the shutdown, there'd be a string of farewell posts. 

Despite that, though, the G+ community rallied. I think Jan 2019 up until the notification icon went away was the most active the community's been in years. That was awesome. Long post discussions, interesting ideas, and cool kickstarters. Silent Titans! Ultraviolet Grasslands!

Then, Mandy Morbid posted about Zak's history of abuse. And the sky fell. Other people - Patrick, Scrap Princess, Arnold, Skerples - said what needed to be said. Zak was denounced. I blocked him, left his Discord OSR for Chris M's OSR Discord, and felt happier. Mandy's post was an insight into the why and who of Zak, and I think the catharsis G+ finally needed. 

The poison has been purged. I wish that it were earlier, say true and say thankya, but the poison is purged. I have immense respect for Ms. Morbid and the others who told us the truth of Zak and I'm so sorry for their suffering. I wish them the best in recovering and living a full life.

After the notification icon died, G+ entered its twilight. The number of posts dropped dramatically. People started saying final goodbyes.

Tonight, I think, G+ ends. I will wake up tomorrow morning and attempt to open the app if it isn't already gone. When that fails, I will delete the app from my phone. And probably tear up.

The G+ community has been quite good to me. I will miss our tumultuous little corner of the internet. To everyone who isn't sure about Discord, I can vouch for the one I'm on. It's not nearly the same but it's quite nice. 

After I publish this post, I'm going to import my G+ data into MeWe, and preserve a bit of its glory. This will be my last Google Plus post. I may check and comment until I sleep, but this is it. 

To all the G+ers: Thank you!

Some specific goodbyes:

K Yani: I'm glad to be your friend. I look forwards to coming along wherever your journey takes you, and I encourage you to join us on MeWe. I think it most resembles G+.

Arnold K: Thanks for being my original inspiration. Please post more. That's kind of a shitty goodbye, but I really can't put it any better in complex words, and I feel like an ass when I try.

Patrick S: Keep doing your thing, man. Your weird, byzantine, esoteric thing. Can't wait for Silent Titans.

Ian Reilly: Thanks for being an early supporter of my chicken scratchings. 

To all those others: Long days and pleasant nights. I'll see you again. Please, add people to your blogrolls.

10,000 Chambers of the Cnite King

Deep within the turgid reaches of the Samarkand Desert, a lone crag of withered sandstone presents a visage long scoured by time.  Samuele B...